Inside BAR

May/June 2013

Dorothy Resig

Managing Editor Dorothy D. Resig

As the leafy trees outside become green and lush, the May/June 2013 issue of BAR is ripe with stories that deal with some much older, drier trees. As a result of earthquakes, Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount had to be dismantled and reconstructed in the 1930s and 1940s. Massive Cedar of Lebanon and cypress beams were reused, and others were simply removed. Some of these beams are significantly older than the mosque itself. Peretz Reuven asks in Wooden Beams from Herod’s Temple Mount: Do They Still Exist?: Were these timbers from Al-Aqsa once part of Herod’s Temple Mount architecture?

And while we’re on the subject, David’s Palace and Solomon’s Temple—two of the most famous structures in the Bible—were also built with Cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) provided by the Phoenician king Hiram of Tyre. Nili Liphschitz explains in Cedars of Lebanon: Exploring the Roots that dendroarchaeology, the archaeology of trees and wood, is now able to tell us why Cedrus libani was so treasured and so widely used in antiquity.

Speaking of treasures, Armin Lange and Esther Eshel look at a unique one in “The Lord Is One”: How Its Meaning Changed. A 1-inch rectangular gold leaf inscribed with the Shema’ Yisrael (“Hear O Israel”) served as a protective amulet for a Jewish baby’s body in Roman-era Austria. The declaration that “The Lord is One” in this incantation reveals that the Israelite deity Yahweh was more than just the God of the Jews, he was the only God. Period.

The May/June issue takes readers from Austria to Jordan. According to fourth-century church historian Eusebius, on the eve of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D., Jesus’ followers miraculously escaped the city and fled to Pella of the Decapolis in Jordan. After decades of excavation, have archaeologists been able to sift through more than 8,000 years of occupation history to find remains of these early Christian refugees? Excavator Stephen Bourke examines the evidence in The Christian Flight to Pella: True or Tale?

Our columnists bring the Bible and archaeology to life. In his First Person, Hershel Shanks weighs new technology against old methods of historical dating. Leonard Greenspoon promotes his new BAS eBook by looking at popular uses of the Biblical phrase “of the making of books there is no end” in The Bible in the News. Boyd Seevers and Joanna Klein study the genetic link to Biblical lefties in Biblical Views. And in Archaeological Views, Norma Franklin and Jennie Ebeling tell us why they’re heading back to Jezreel.

There’s more blossoming every day online at Bible History Daily, where you can access daily articles on key Biblical archaeology topics, the latest news, book reviews and dozens of free eBooks. Right now we’re featuring a special technology section, a series of Bart Ehrman’s popular lecture videos and a collection of the late Victor Hurowitz’s articles. If you haven’t tried our digital issue, check it out here or download our highly rated iPad app. Our BAS Library features easy access to all footnoted articles in BAR Notables and new Special Collections each month.

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